Hippos in South Twin Lake, Amery

Rare photo of the hippo family wallowing in the area of Mystery Island toward the middle of South Twin. Not sure who snapped the photo.

The Amery Beach had to be THE place for any Amery kid from age 5 to 17, a busy social area that made summer great and cooled us on 95 degree days. Swimming lessons on June mornings, but after that it was wide open. No lifeguards until after 1:00 on all days, but that was okay. We didn’t go there a lot in the off hours, and if we did we thought nothing of it.

BUT, a big BUT, Amery kids could not, never, ever, swim in South Twin after Labor Day.  For one thing the temps were dropping and school had begun. Less time to be at the beach, and the swimming days were only a memory of a good summer at that point.

And there was another danger.  It often made the rounds as a rumor but one with several almost stories of sightings? The story going around was that after Labor Day, the Amery department in charge of the beach and animals would release hippos into the lake, hippos that had been stored somewhere in the country, somewhere, for the summer months. We never did spot them, but again there were always stories. And what, we asked, would hippos do in the depths of winter? They were like turtles, it was explained, and they’d hibernate, burrowing down in the mud somewhere out toward the center of the lake. In spring they’d come out when it got warmer and the ice disappeared. Then the week before Memorial Day, in the darkest of dark nights, the city animal crew would call them, special calls, and they’d be hauled out in the country somewhere.

It was a fun part of local culture, and it worked. I NEVER saw a kid swim in South Twin after the first of September, nor before the end of May.

If you don’t believe this, look it up.

Loren

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